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Bridge maintenance starts following $100 million infusion

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GDOT bridge inspectors, Jeramy Durrence (left) and Andy Doyle (right) make an inspection in Atlanta on Oct. 10, 2012. JOHN SPINK / AJC

Two bridge construction projects are getting under way thanks to the $100 million bond appropriation made by the General Assembly for transportation this year.

The one-time, 20-year bonds were sold to help pay for repair, replacement and renovation of outdated bridges around the state. They will be repaid out of the state general fund. The two selected projects are in Jeff Davis and Elbert Counties, and were chosen from among 25 bridges that need repair or replacement in the coming fiscal year.

GDOT bridge inspectors, Jeramy Durrence (left) and Andy Doyle (right) make an inspection in Atlanta on Oct. 10, 2012. JOHN SPINK / AJC

GDOT bridge inspectors, Jeramy Durrence (left) and Andy Doyle (right) make an inspection in Atlanta on Oct. 10, 2012. JOHN SPINK / AJC

“When you look at using bond money, you want something that has a long life. And a bridge has a 75-year life-cycle,” Georgia DOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said in a statement. “Obviously $100 million does not address all bridges, but it greatly helps to advance many necessary projects.”

There are 6,651 state-owned bridges and 8,024 locally owned bridges in Georgia. Uncertainty about continued federal funding has contributed to a growing backlog of bridge maintenance projects. Ideally, the state would be replacing 200 bridges a year. Last year, only 60 were replaced.

The two bridge projects moving forward are:

  • A 0.6-mile bridge construction on U.S. Highway 221/Ga. 135 over Whitehead Creek in Jeff Davis County. Completion is scheduled for late 206, with a $3.7 million cost.
  • A quarter-mile bridge construction over Pickens Creek in Elbert County, to be completed at a cost of $1.9 million by August 2016.

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